As a business owner, you probably spend a lot of your time and energy protecting, building and managing your business. Whether you built this company from the ground up, purchased it or inherited it, protecting the company and your interest in it takes careful consideration of the future in the risks that you undertake.
Getting married may not seem like a risk to your business, but divorce definitely could be damaging to your business ownership. While it can be a difficult topic to approach, agreeing to create a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse will protect your business if your marriage sours and can protect both of you from expenses and uncertainty during divorce.
Prenuptial agreements should be fair and balanced
Your fiance probably has assets that they want to protect in the same way that you want to protect your business. Don’t approach a prenuptial agreement as a document that protects your business from your spouse. Look at it as a tool that helps both of you by giving you control over the terms if you do get divorced.
From agreeing to a certain amount of spousal support so that your fiance feels comfortable with staying home to raise your children or care for your house, to setting terms for the future valuation of the business so that you can protect your ownership interest in it, there are many ways to protect your business while still creating terms that are fair and reasonable for your fiance as well.
You don’t necessarily need a prenuptial agreement to protect your business
While most of the time a prenuptial agreement is a good idea for someone with a business, if you can’t convince your fiance to get one, that doesn’t mean your business is necessarily at risk. Since you clearly started the company before you got married, its current value is likely separate property.
Provided that you avoid commingling and don’t allow your spouse to make unpaid contributions to the business or any properties the company owns, you can probably avoid commingling and claims of equity or ownership by your fiance if you eventually divorce.
If you do want to protect your business without a prenuptial agreement, good legal advice is critical before you get married and throughout the duration of your marriage. Planning and thoughtfulness can go a long way toward protecting a company you have worked so hard to run.